My Only Way Out

(is to go so far in)

All or Nothing

Posted by Cauri on August 18, 2006

Words can have such power over me. 

Last Sunday, before i headed home, my loving boyfriend Ryan sent me on my way with the newest Ani CD, Reprieve.  First, I was excited to finally hear what she did with “Decree”, since I first heard the song over a year ago when she was on tour for Knuckle Down and decided to throw her newest song into the mix.  Her words resounded through the car, and, as with any new CD, I dissected every phrase–Its placement, its meaning, the chords entangling each syllable…The silences.  There were a few songs I needed to listen to three or four times through to fully understand exactly where she was coming from.  I realized that’s something I’ve always done…I remember being eleven years old, lying on the floor of my room with a CD and a notebook, anazlyzing the placement of words, the significance of phrases. 

The song “Unrequited” (which used to be called “All or Nothing”), had struck something in me months ago, with the phrase,

“if there is one instinct
i can’t get with at all
it’s the urge to kill something beautiful
and make it all your own”

It had been such a powerful phrase when I’d first heard it, months ago, mirroring the feelings inside me related to the meat industry and my reasons for being vegetarian.  When I listened to the song on Monday, I skipped right over this phrase and focused on the central theme of being “afraid of commitment”.  I had a mini panic attack.  Ryan called me soonafter, and I was mean.  I wanted space, I was suffocating, I wanted freedom.  We met in a parking lot and after a two-hour discussion, we kissed, and it literally sent electricity through my body. 

We did have space all week, (I was in Philly with my dad), and last night I missed him so much that I drove out to see him.  I started having the same mini panic attacks again.  This fear of commitment was overwhelming me.  When I got to his house, I was honest.  We laid in bed and discussed everything.  I openly told him what scares me (um, marriage), and why (my parents), and it was sort of amazing the conncetion we shared, the clarity we attained from talking freely with each other, the resolution of our differences. 

When I drove home today, I was listening to Reprieve (There were still songs to analyze), when inevitably “Unrequited” came on again.  I left it, I listened.  I heard her, I understood.

“baby, how long’s it been now
since you held me to your chest
and told me that you loved me
more than all the rest
it’s such a shame you won’t talk to me
’cause i won’t repeat after you
i believe that there is more to life
we could’ve loved eachother through
but i was afraid of commitment
when it came to you

if there is one instinct
i can’t get with at all
it’s the urge to kill something beautiful
and make it all your own”

And that’s when I realized…That phrase that I’d fallen in love with so long ago…It wasn’t about the meat industry, It wasn’t about anything that i stand for…It was about remaining independent.  It was about not giving yourself to somebody for fear that they’d have control over you.  This song wasn’t describing my relationship at all. 

I feel so foolish for what I put Ryan through….for the thoughts that went through my head because of the words I pulled out of a song.  The impact words can have on me sometimes is very intense…especially words from Ani, who’s lead me through some of the toughest moments of my life.  But that’s no excuse for allowing myself to doubt myself, my relationship with my love…Our future.

I realize that I need to grow up.  I need to get over these insecurities, these issues that are really stifling me.  I need to focus on the present, immerse myself in it, and realize that I’m very lucky to be here.  That I have complete control over my surroundings, my attitudes, my emotions.  I need to live lighter.  To let negativity roll off my shoulders, to live each day with a positive glow, with the feelings of being in love, that that’s all that life really boils down to….Happiness, having something to look forward to, a purpose, having a life that truly fulfills you.

It has to be be all or nothing.  Because really, if it’s anything else, what’s the point?

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